Becoming a Pro Soccer Player
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NAME: Brek Shea | AGE: 22 | HOME: College Station | QUALIFICATIONS: Selected by FC Dallas as the second pick in the 2008 draft / Led the team in goals (11) and shots (75) in 2011 / Earned a spot on the All-Star team last year and was a finalist for the league’s MVP award / Named the 2011 Young Male Athlete of the Year by the U.S. Soccer Federation
● During my freshman year of high school, I played football and soccer because they were at different times of the year. Then I told my football coach, “I just want to play soccer from now on,” and he told me that I would never get a college scholarship playing soccer. I think I made the right decision.
● I went to the IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy when I turned fifteen. That’s where the U.S. soccer program based its U-17 national team. At the time, the only thing I thought about was that I was going to get free cleats. But you know what? I still get excited about free cleats.
● When I joined the national team, I didn’t know anybody, so Clint Dempsey took me to dinner. We’re both from small towns in Texas and had similar situations growing up. He did it the right way, so hopefully I can follow his lead and accomplish half of what he has done.
● I want to be a little different, both on and off the field, so I don’t want a haircut like everyone else. I do the faux-hawk a lot. It’s like a mohawk, but with a mullet.
● I play my best when I’m not thinking. I’ll score a goal, but I won’t remember how I did it. Then, when I go back and watch the film, I’m like, “Oh yeah. That was pretty cool.”
● I’ve noticed lately that people recognize me more often, especially in Dallas. Fans will say, “Hey, what’s up, Brek?” or ask to take a picture. Dallas is a hard market because you have the Mavericks, the Cowboys, and the Rangers, but interest in soccer is definitely growing.
● There’s a different feeling when you suit up for the national team. I don’t want to let my country down.
● I trained in England for a month last year with Arsenal, one of the best-known teams in the world. The standard is so much higher over there. If we get five chances in a game, we might be lucky to score once. If they get five chances, they’re going to score four out of the five.
● At the professional level, the players are obviously trained, trained, and trained. Your body knows what to do— you just have to let it do it.
● I love being in Dallas, but when the time is right, I want to go after my dream of playing in Europe. I think that will help me get better—and help me achieve my ultimate goal of becoming a key player on our national team.